National Squad member Cathleen Santoso.
Golf, what is there seriously not to like about this game! It's an impeccable sport from so many different perspectives.
From when I was a little girl the concept of "sport" has always been in my blood. I would play a Saturday sport each term and enjoyed those PE classes each week at school! In primary school I used to swim, run, play mini hockey and tennis. It was around grade 6 (11-12 years of age) that I decided to begin golf. My father took me to the driving range and I really just loved smashing the balls down the range! It was that night I clearly remember, it was a path down golf I was to continue. However that didn't stop me playing from other sports until last year which included tennis, basketball, hockey, water polo and volleyball. But as years passed on by, from competitions to tournaments, I truly knew the career path I wanted to take was with the sport, golf.
Golf is so different yet similar to many other sports! I absolutely love being in a "competitive" environment, I guess that is what you generally find in all sports, having the drive to train hard and bring the best of yourself to compete against everyone else. Even though golf is looked upon as an individual sport, you can still be part of a team! I remember when I first joined a junior clinic in Sydney and met a lot of new friends, just like playing any other team sport! You may also get the chance to travel around the states or the world, where you can be competing against each other yet at the same time for each other. I love that you are playing for yourself but at the same time you still have to work as a team to bring the best out in each other and together reach for success.
There are many people who influence my golf and the top 5 include:
1. My Dad, Mum and my family
They're blood to me and have raised and supported me from when I was a new born! My Dad is almost my everything. It was my Dad who dropped me off to all my sport training and Saturday morning games and then introduced me to the game of golf. From there he has always put in maximum effort in trying to advance my game in every way! I remember he used to even YouTube "golf tips" when I was younger! He drives me around to golf and manages to always fit a time in somewhere between his hectic work schedule! Next, without my mum, I wouldn't be here...literally! She constantly keeps my head on top and assists me in organisation, golf and school.
2. My coach
Gary Bartor, the ultimate weapon. Though I have only been working with Gary for a few months he is an enthusiastic person who is 100% dedicated to find a way to further improve my game. We try to see each other once a week/fortnight depending on whether I am in the country or not. Each lesson is filled with heavy discussions and technical work that I know can only benefit me further. Gary can be a comedian at times and always makes me enjoy the game even more!
3. My favourite players
It has always changed but initially it had always been Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie, was it the Nike tick that got my eye? Perhaps so! But beside that point, Tiger Woods, despite the recent bad behaviour, has always been my idol! He carries some absolute demeanour onto the course that is inevitable to be around. Everyone can technically swing it, chip it or putt it better than him, but can someone play better than him? Well for a certain period they couldn't and during then, the world including myself, understood why he was the number one player in the world! Tiger is still an exceptional player in my eyes! Next, Michelle Wie, she was only 16 when I first heard about her. Making a strong debut onto the LPGA to then going onto the men’s tour, what's there not to look up to?!
4. The GA team (Matt Cutler & Brad James) & Golf NSW
Ever since I joined the National Squad last year, it has been one of the greatest stepping stones into my career! The people I have met and the continuous support from the crew I receive is unbelievable. From the organisations of golf camps, locally or interstate, or a simple email asking how my game is coming along. They all have a great influence on my golf.
5. My physio (Greeny) and trainer (Cemil)
Greeny and Cemil have assisted me physically in all sorts of way. Despite the gruelling pulsing of bands or resistance in the muscles, the end result is very pleasing! Working on your body to build it the right way is essential in creating the best swing you can make!
Cathleen Santoso is a member of Golf Australia's National Junior Squad and was the 2011 Australian Girls Amateur Champion. To read more about Cathleen, click here.